I’ve been a loyal Vue user for more than 5 years. I’ve learned to make natural environments, epic landscapes, dramatic atmospheres, realistic lighting and twisting materials, but I’ve never been the one who came up with groundbreaking ideas or inventions. While I was trying to bring the best out of my landscapes and tried to make some of them just a little special in some way, I always admired those fellow Vue artists who discovered something new, unusual, bizarre and very useful things in Vue and shared their inventions.
If you turn this 3D-love into profession, you no longer have time to think of possible inventions. You need to be creative on spot, need to solve issues as quick as possible, but experimenting with new things doesn’t fit in any pipeline. If you have free time, you can experiment, but – honestly – would you be in the mood of playing in Vue after working in it for 12 hours?
Still, somewhere deep inside I was hoping that someday I come up with something I haven’t seen before in Vue. …and that time has come when I came across a really interesting, real-life experiment done by photographer Ron Brinkmann. He taped 6 mirror tiles together forming a cube with a reflective interior on all sides. He placed candles and other luminous objects into the cube, and using his camera with timer, he took some very interesting, bizarre, psychedelic shots. This may sound very simple, and yeah – building the cube and placing some objects in them was really not that hard. I’m not a professional photographer, but I know that finding the proper camera settings was a real challenge and that may have taken several hours, even days. It doesn’t matter how long it took, it was worth it!
I was fascinated by this experiment, and by the fact that looking at the shot, you can easily get confused, not knowing where up or down is. So, I decided to give it a try in Vue’s virtual world. As objects I picked my floating lanterns that I modeled in Vue some months ago. I built the cube, and pressed render….that’s where the challenge started. Let’s see where I’ve got so far…
On the shot above I also applied some lens blur, just for the heck of it :). Can you guess what’s “real” here and what’s reflection? …or maybe the whole image is nothing but a reflection? Is it the top or the bottom of the cube? Well, to be honest, I don’t even remember. I’d need to open the scene again to check it.
The first challenge was the mirror material. Vue has a mirror material in its library, but it required some tweaking to work as a real mirror.
Another challenge was – just like in real life – the camera settings. I’m still not done with this part, but you can get really interesting results with extreme focal length and exposure values.
The biggest challenge was finding the right lighting and render settings. In such an unusual scene (because Vue was originally made for building natural, outdoor environments), the focus is purely on physics. I tried to render the scene with my mostly used custom render profile, just to see how it works in this case…. half of the picture turned blue. I’m starting to get the result I want, and when the pack is ready, we’ll be happy to share it under D&D Creations.
With the right settings, I strongly believe you can achieve similar images to fractals – in Vue, a software made for building digital nature, using reflection and Vue’s abilities of computing physics.
I’m having a lot of fun with this. Each camera position and angle shows a completely different, interesting image. ….and this is just a cube. What about a hexagon-shaped box? Although this project is still a baby, somehow I see a great potential using this technique.
Dizzy? …I’m already thinking of ways to animate this!
…and finally, let’s see a spherical render with panoramic view…